Primo Cubano from Portland, which specializes in traditional Cuban “son” dance music, will play a benefit dance Friday, Nov. 5 from 8 to 11 p.m. at Rockland Elks Lodge #1008, 210 Rankin St.

The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a social hour featuring hors d’oeuvres and a salsa dance lesson led by Sandie Galvez. There will be a cash bar for the 21-and-older event.

Son is the most popular style to come out of Cuba and is the primary contributor to the blend of Latin styles today known as salsa. Son originated in the mountainous eastern end of Cuba called Oriente. a rugged and remote region that has sheltered refugees and rebels from pre-Columbian times to the Cuban Revolution. Here the music grew out of the life of the mountain farmers and moved down into the cities of the island and the world, giving rise to various forms of popular Latin music.

Primo Cubano was formed in 2006 by band leader Paul D’Alessio after an inspiring visit to Brunswick’s sister city, Trinidad de Cuba. The five-piece band is committed to rendering the Cuban son faithfully for audiences back home who otherwise would probably not be able to experience it live. The standard instrumentation of bongo, maracas, upright bass, tres (a relative of the guitar) and trumpet emerged in the early 20th century and is the format used by Primo Cubano. Most of the lyrics of the songs deal with themes of country life, hard work, dancing and love and are often humorous even when they sound very serious.

Tickets for the Primo Cubano dance are $15, available at the door or in advance by calling 372-8539. The dance is being organized by students in the Riley School’s Adventures in Learning Spanish class who, with their instructor Nohora Estes, are planning an eight-day trip to Costa Rica next April.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to